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Hardball With Chris Matthews

News/Business. (2013) (CC)

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Zimmerman 14, George Zimmerman 10, Us 9, Washington 8, Nelson 8, Lisa 8, Joseph Haynes Davis 7, Florida 6, Alex 6, Mr. Zimmerman 6, Trayvon Martin 5, Mark O'mara 5, Alex Ferrer 5, Lisa Bloom 4, Allstate 4, Joan Walsh 4, Herbie 4, Sam 4, Nissan Sentra 3, Warfarin 3,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.  (2013) (CC)  

    July 11, 2013
    4:00 - 5:01pm PDT  

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and the judge's instructions to the jury. i want to say thank you to my legal panel, and i want to say thanks to you for watching. and let us be here tomorrow to assess what we see on the closing day of statements. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. let the closing arguments begin. let's play "hardball." good evening i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, closing argumenting in the george zimmerman trial, capping off a dramatic day in court. bernie de la rionda of the state delivering an emotionally charged final appeal to the jury to find zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder. it tied together virtually all of the elements and arguments that we have seen them present in this case including zimmerman's infamous profanity-laced call to the
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police which occurred when he spotted and tracked martin, the testimony of martin's friend rachel jeantel saying martin told her that zimmerman was following him, and numerous questions about zimmerman's account of the events that night. their conclusion that zimmerman profiled martin as a criminal and killed him with ill will and hatred. earlier in the day a series of contentious exchanges over jury instructions took center stage, specifically rulings on whether the jury would be allowed to consider lesser charges. zimmerman is claiming self-defense. the jury also can consider the lesser charge of manslaughter. don west objected numerous times to these rulings, so many at one point that the judge basically threatened him with contempt. but tomorrow it will be west and the defense's team who will make their final case and jury deliberations could begin as early as tomorrow. for the latest, let's get to msnbc's craig melvin outside the
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florida courthouse. craig, what was the vibe in that courtroom, and specifically, were you able to get a read on the jurors as they listened? >> you know what, mike? that's what we're trying to do. we have lots of eyes and ears inside the courtroom. we're told that the jury itself was pretty captivated during mr. de la rionda's presentation. at one point there was only one or two jurors taking notes. the rest of them were sitting, listening attentively. also, we can tell you that george zimmerman during the course of all that, for the most part in the course of this trial, he has been fairly stoic, unemotional, at times expressionless even. there was one point during that two hour, 15-minute presentation where he was looking down. he hung his head as well. but for the most part he was again today fairly stoic. but, again, the jury, of course, the six women, five of whom have children, at the end of the day, after all of the analysis, after all of the pontificating, these will be the folks who actually decide george zimmerman's fate.
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they seem to be, seem to be very engaged. the courtroom itself today as full as it has been at any point during this trial. in fact, it was so full in 5-d that judge nelson actually had to create some more space. >> there is confusion about how the verdict will be delivered once there is a verdict. can you shed light on that. >> you know, let me clear that up. we just got some information regarding that. earlier today we were told by law enforcement, law enforcement telling nbc news that they were going to request that judge nelson hold the verdict when it was reached until a weekday. again, out of an abundance of caution, if you will. that's what they indicated to us they were going to do. no word on whether judge nelson ever even got that request, but a short time ago, the public information officer here at the court telling nbc news that if a verdict is reached this weekend, that the court is going to have
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the verdict read that day. they're not going to be holding the verdict here in sanford, florida. we're also told that we should get, we should get about a 60-minute heads-up before that verdict is shared. >> craig, thanks for the report, as always. we appreciate it. >> thanks. >> for more on today's proceedings, i'm joined by legal analyst lisa bloom, former circuit court judge alex ferrer and criminal defense attorney joseph haynes davis. gang, in his closing arguments, prosecutor bernie de la rionda drove home one message to the jury, that zimmerman profiled martin as a criminal, and that is part of his argument to the jury. >> this innocent 17-year-old kid was profiled as a criminal. to quote the defendant, and pardon my language, he was one of those [ bleep ] that get away. pardon my language, he was one of those [ bleep ] punks, he uttered it under his breath.
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and that itself indicates ill will and hatred, because in his mind, he already assumed certain things. that trayvon martin was a [ bleep ] punk, and he was [ bleep ] and he wasn't going to get away this time. >> mr. davis, he spoke of criminal profiling, not racial profiling. but is that really the unsaid word in that courtroom? is that the implication of what the prosecution is saying? >> well, as i said before, counselor, and thank you again for having me today, that race is immutable. we see it. in fact, you see it as we look at the television, at the panel here today with the diversity, that you have put together for this esteemed panel to discuss this matter. so the fact of the matter is again, race is immutable. and that is an underlying matter, probably. let's be serious, it is. but on the other hand, i think
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that mr. de la rionda is trying to get to the emotions of that jury to let them know that we have a minor who was unarmed, who was shot and killed, and he is trying to bring out those elements of the second-degree murder statute of this state so that they're able to look at that, and quite frankly, they should look at that only in making their decision with their deliberations. >> in other words, judge alex, what he's trying to do is meet that element of an evil intention which is required for a second-degree murder conviction? >> absolutely that's what he is trying to do. i don't think he has enough. i've said that for quite a while now. to the extent that the mutterings which occur when he is in the car and when he is getting out of the car could be considered enough evil will, ill will, intent and spite, they're so far removed from the shooting. florida law says the act that results in a death has to be
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motived by will ill will, spite, evil intent. there's this big thing that happens in the middle, and that's that fight, the fact that lasts a considerable amount of time that there's a lot of screaming about and a lot of dispute about who started. the burden of proving who started it has the burden of proving if it's not self-defense restses with the prosecution. it's hard for them to get around that. >> lisa, you have focused our attention on the actual physical -- the physicality of that scrimmage, that fight at the end. here's what i'm referring to in terms of how it came up today. in his closing arguments, de la rionda also brought up this potentially key detail about the screams in the background of that neighbor's 911 call, which the defense claims were zimmerman. watch this. >> while we're on that subject, the defendant claims that he was the only one yelling out there. so all the cries for help were only him. you have to decide whether it was hi or trayvon martin or whether it was both of them. it had to be one of them, or both.
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but if he's yelling and if he is down and he's got all this blood and he is swallowing the blood, how is he able to do all that? and why is there a consistent in terms of yells of help, help, help, why isn't it muffled down? i will submit to you it's another lie. >> lisa, i thought that was comp compelling. how was he able cry for help as we heard time and again if it was george zimmerman in if fact trayvon martin his his hands -- >> because it was intermittent, that's going to be the defense argument, that the hand was there and perhaps he got away. this was a dynamic situation and it was a fight. i don't particularly care for this closing argument style of asking jurors questions instead of giving the prosecution theory of the case. he says maybe it was one person. maybe it was two people. you can decide that. this is closing argument. it's time for the prosecution to have a theory of the case. it's time for the prosecutor to tell the jury, there is one person who was yelling. that was trayvon martin. that was the victim in this case.
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to really put it away. his style was to raise so many questions, if i'm the defense attorney, i'm going stand up and say you know why he asked you all those questions? because this is a case about reasonable doubt. and i bet you still have a lot of questions. and if you go back into that jury room with all of those questions, you have to return a defense verdict. >> how effective do you think the prosecution was on the issue that you've been raising about access to the weapon action and again consistencies that you've pointed out about george zimmerman's testimony? >> well, i was glad they raised it, for the first time in this trial in closing argument that george zimmerman said on the reenactment video that the gun was holstered inside his pants behind him. and at last that videotape was showed to the jury. in closing arguments. but there were so many missed opportunities in this trial. for example, when they're working with the dummy to show that's where the gun was holstered. if i'm the prosecutor, i'm going to drive this home. this is not going to be a question i'm going let the jury linger with. i'm going to say directly to the jury, it was impossible to trayvon martin to see the gun and to reach for the gun, and
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that's the most critical issue in this case, because all of self-defense depends on that. he don't -- didn't do that. >> judge alex, lisa is pretty critical of the overall presentation. how did you see it? >> i think it didn't have the power it needed, but i think, the prosecution needed to have a very powerful case. you know, we're not done. the prosecution has tomorrow, and i think guy's closing will be much more powerful. when you're giving the jury questions, all -- the defense is going to say, you know why they're asking questions? because they don't know, either. just like when they asked di maio, you don't know who threw the first punch. the natural reaction is neither do you. and that's the problem with the prosecution's case. >> mr. davis, there was another aspect of the closing that came up time and again. de la rionda raised this potential inconsistency with zimmerman's testimony to police that trayvon martin was circling the car. here is part of it. >> just as important is the fact that he is saying this man, trayvon martin, is circling his
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car. so he is in such dire strait or so fear that he gets out of the car to go follow him? so he's either truthful in saying he is circling the car or he is lying about it. either way, it shows that he is not telling the truth. >> joseph haynes davis, how effective was that aspect of the prosecutorial close? >> well, i think it's very effective in the sense that -- and again, i've mentioned this on the show before. i'm a concealed weapons holder, a law-abiding gunowner here in the state of florida. when you are in a situation like that, you have an opportunity to stay within your safe zone. that's how i was trained in my training. i believe that in that instance, what the prosecutor is saying that if he's in the car and someone is circling your car, you have a chance on the phone to say hey, look, he's circling my car and then drive away, or move to another location where
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you can look to see where the signs are, the signage is on the street, et cetera. you are in your safe zone. so you don't have to get out of the car. and i think that is what mr. de la rionda was probably trying to get over to the jury. >> lisa bloom, alex ferrer and joseph haynes davis are all staying with us. when we come back, we'll take a closer look at the often contentious relationship between judge nelson and the defense attorney don west. this is "hardball," for politics. >> i am asking your client questions. please, mr. west. >> i object to the court inquiring of mr. zimmerman as to his decision about whether or not to testify. >> your objection is overruled. [ male announcer ] fight pepperoni heartburn and pepperoni breath fast with tums freshers. concentrated relief that goes to work in seconds and freshens breath. tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ fast heartburn relief and minty fresh breath.
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wall street journal" and marist finds spitzer out to a nine-point lead in the dramatic primary race for city comptroller. now, tonight at midnight is the deadline for spitser to turn in nearly 4,000 signatures to city hall so that he can make the candidacy official. we'll be right back. ood so far. [ herbie ] eh, hold on brent, what's this? mmmm, nice car. there's no doubt, that's definitely gonna throw him off. she's seen it too. oh this could be trouble. [ sentra lock noise ] oh man. gotta think fast, herbie. back pedal, back pedal. [ crowd cheering ] oh, he's down in flames and now the ice-cold shoulder. one last play... no, game over! gps take him to the dog house. [ male announcer ] make a powerful first impression. the all-new nissan sentra. ♪ the last thing i want is to feel like someone is giving me a sales pitch, especially when it comes to my investments. you want a broker you can trust. a lot of guys at the other firms seemed more focused on selling than their clients.
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we submit that's an integrate part of our theory of defense and in error by not instructing the law of this jury properly on the law -- >> i understand. i have already ruled. and you have -- you continually disagree with this court every time i make a ruling. i have provided you on three separate occasions with the court's professional conduct in the courtroom, and included in that is do not continue to argue with the court after we've ruled. >> welcome back to "hardball" that was defense attorney don west and judge debra nelson going back and forth earlier today in the latest of what has been a series of tense exchanges throughout this trial.
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now as the defense prepares its closing arguments, the question some people are asking is could west's apparently strained relationship with the judge affect the trial. we continue with our panel alex bloom, david ferrer and joseph haynes davis. when she asked whether he would like to, defense attorney don west cut in. >> mr. zimmerman, have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to testify in this case? >> not at this time. >> okay. >> and when is it -- how long do you think you need before you make that decision? >> your honor, may we have an opportunity to speak? the case hasn't concluded yet. >> i understand that. and i've asked mr. zimmerman if he needed more time to talk to his attorneys. and if he does, i will afford it to him. mr. zimmerman, how much more time do you think you're going to need to discuss this with your attorneys? >> i assume it will depend on
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how long the recesses are, the end of the day. >> well, if your attorneys have finished with two witnesses before the end of the day, do you think you would then know whether or not you want to testify? >>or on mr. zimmerman's behalf, that decision -- >> i am asking your client questions. please, mr. west. >> i object to the court inquiring of mr. zimmerman as to his decision about whether or not to testify at this -- >> your objection is overruled. >> lisa bloom, how much of this has played itself out in front of the jury? for example, in that particular moment the jury was not in the courtroom. but there have been other instances i'm sure they got the vibe that all is not well between judge nelson and the defense council. >> right. this was not in front of the jury. and when he was talking and talking and talking the other night, and she got up and walked out of the courtroom while he was talk, that was also not in front of the jury. she has given some tough rulings on objections that he has made in front of the jury. i'm of two minds about it. frankly, i like don west a lot.
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i think he is an outstanding courtroom lawyer. he has had some bad moments, the knock-knock joke. but i watched almost every minute of this trial, and i think he has really honed in on some details and shown high levels of intelligence and aggressiveness for his client. but the bottom line is right. when the judge is talking, you have to stop. when the judge issues a ruling, you have to live with it. you don't get to keep arguing. and you certainly don't get to object to things that the judge is saying. >> judge alex, here is the moment that lisa was referring to on tuesday. don west complained about the long hours and the lack of time the defense team has had to go over evidence that it says the prosecution withheld. judge nelson walked out of the courtroom. >> i'll see you in the morning. >> i'm not physically able to keep up this pace much longer. it's 10:00 at night. we started this morning. we've had full days, every day. weekends, depositions at night.
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>> judge alex, i'd love to hear your perspective about what you see in that dynamic. >> these two clearly have either a history or an undercurrent of tension. it's been there since pretrial motions. they don't appear to like each other and it bubbles to the surface. i can understand the defense's position because it's 10:00 at night there is case law that says if you keep the case lawyers too late at trial and they don't have adequate time to preit can result in a retrial of the case. the exchange we saw between the judge and west about whether or not zimmerman was going to testify that was each one of them pressing each other's buttons. neither one of them had to do what they were at that particular moment. but they intentionally were. i think that shows the undercurrent. >> based on your experience, how important is this in the eyes of the jurors? in the end, do they discount this or take the lead from the individual sitting there wearing a robe? >> well, as counsel has said, most of this has happened out of
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the eyes of the jury. when the jury comes back, both parties, my esteemed colleague mr. west who i agree with counsel saying that he is a very good attorney. he is board certified in this area, and judge nelson, when they come back, they put on, quote/unquote, their game faces, and the jury is likely to never know. if the jury is able to pick up some tension throughout the trial, i believe that the jury's intelligent enough to know that that is part and parcel to this very, very important case that is being presented in front of them. >> here's what i'm wondering, lisa. irwould argue that don west got off to a bad start with judge nelson with that knock-knock joke that he made in his opening statement. here is a reminder. >> knock knock. who is there? george zimmerman. george zimmerman who? all right. good, you're on the jury.
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nothing? that's funny. >> he was criticize and he later did apologize for making the joke lisa, any possibility from the get-go she just looked at that and said what is this guy doing in my courtroom? >> i don't think so. it was a false note, but throughout the testimony he has done a great job of keeping calm, sometimes tying up the witnesses in knots and look, this is not a tea party. it's not about getting the judge to like you. it's not about getting the attorneys to like you. he's trying to defend his client and make a record in the event the client is convicted. to do that he's got to say certain things in the courtroom even if he thinks it will get pushback from the judge. she makes reference to the rules of professional conduct. he's not going to get any trouble. he hasn't actually crossed that line, i don't think. >> i think the four of us are saying that the lawyering has
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pretty strong in the case thus far. judge alex, evaluate the response from the bench. how has she done from your perspective? >> i can see times she gets testy with the defense. but honestly, a lot of times people say well she always rules against the defense. a lot of times that's because the defense is doing something wrong. i mean, that does happen. if you remember in the casey anthony case -- the judge -- i don't remember his name. he is a friend of mine, the judge ruled against the defense over and over and over again. but that's because the defense was wrong. it's not a matter of balancing things out. i think she is a conscientious judge. she is trying to do the right thing. i disagree with some of their rulings, but i don't think anything in affecting the case. >> have you seen anything in the case thus far that you regard as possible reversible error? >> have i? >> yes. >> i think there's a question about the special jury instruction the defense
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requested. there is a case point about that. i think she should have given that special instruction, and she didn't. that could come back to haunt her. lisa bloom, alex ferrer, joseph haynes davis, all staying with us. coming up, more on the zimmerman trial. the prosecution is done. tomorrow, what is the best they can make? this is "hardball," the place for politics. and sooner than yo. sooner than you'd think. you die from alzheimer's disease. we cure alzheimer's disease. every little click, call or donation adds up to something big. a regular guy with an irregular heartbeat. the usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke.
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so your rates won't go up just because of a claim. [ whispering ] are we still in a dream? no, you're in an allstate commercial. so get allstate home insurance with claim rate guard... [ whispering ] goodnight. there are so many people in our bedroom. [ dennis ] talk to an allstate agent... [ doorbell rings ] ...and let the good life in. welcome back to "hardball." defense attorney don west began his case with the now infamous knock-knock joke. tomorrow the defense hopes to close on a stronger note than it began. near lay three-week trial is now over, and this afternoon's closing arguments by the prosecution saw defense attorney mark o'mara will now be trying to convince the jury that george zimmerman is not guilty of murdering trayvon martin. chances are we won't see another knock-knock jokes. how strong is the defense's case? and what are the strongest points from the prosecution that he'll have to rebut? we continue with lisa bloom, alex ferrer and joseph haynes davis, and we're joined by
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criminal defense attorney midwin charles. so lisa bloom, what are you going to do? >> first of all, i would start by saying the prosecution asked you a lot of questions in the on the ground statement and since they don't have the answers, you don't have the answer, that's reasonable doubt, so i don't even have to go on, but i will go on. george zimmerman told his story over and over again, why didn't he lawyer up? he had nothing to hide, and insure there are minor interconsistencies in his story. that's to be expected any time a traumatized person tells his story over and over and over in detail. but the central story never changed, that he killed in self-defense. that story matches up with all of the medical and scientific evidence. that testimony of dr. vincent di maio. it has never been refuted in this case. the prosecution has the burden of proof to show this is not a self-defense killing beyond a reasonable doubt. the prosecution has gone far away from getting that point across. >> midwin charles, what did you see -- if you're the defense lawyer, what did you see in the
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prosecution argument today that you need to make sure you address? >> if i'm the defense lawyer, i focus on the fact that it was all the questions the state threw out. if i were the defense attorney, i would have my legal intern go home tonight and go through all the number of questions that they asked during their closing argument, which is not what you're supposed to do as a prosecutor. you're supposed to say with certainty exactly how it happened. how did the fight start? who threw the first punch? all we know for certain is how the fight ended. and that is one of the biggest problems with today's closing arguments by the prosecution. >> judge alex, i was a little surprised that the prosecutor, who is going to get rebuttal time, did not focus more on the distinctions between second-degree murder and manslaughter. they're critical. and let's run through them both. to prove second-degree murder, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted with a depraved mind, without regard for human life, and that the act was done from ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent. they do not have to prove there was intent to cause death, although that's not really being
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debated in this case. zimmerman is not contesting that he shot trayvon martin. to prove manslaughter, on the other hand, which is the lesser offense, they have to prove the killing of a hubie the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, and that the act was not excusable, which is another way of saying that it was not self-defense. how are those definitions going to be utilized by the defense tomorrow and then in the rebuttal by the prosecution? >> well, let me clarify something. i don't believe they're going under culpable negligence manslaughter, and that's because florida has two different types, culpable negligence and manslaughter by act. culpable negligence is basically a higher level of negligence, and they can't proceed on that under the law because it is not -- what's alleged in the information is an intentional crime. it's not alleged to be a negligent act. manslaughter by act basically is an unjustifiable killing. so what they're going to do is say this isn't self-defense. and if it is not self-defense, then it is by definition an unjustifiable killing, and it is by definition manslaughter. and it all comes down to the
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jury deciding whether or not george zimmerman felt in fear of his life or serious bodily injury, and whether that fear was reasonable. if they say yes, then it's self-defense and he is acquitted. if they say no, it's an unjustifiable killing and it's manslaughter by act. >> mr. davis, i expected to hear from the prosecution today, and maybe i'll hear it in rebuttal. that part of the argument where he says we believe we have proven beyond a reasonable doubt second-degree murder. however, ladies and gentlemen, if you conclude otherwise, then you've certainly got to find that manslaughter has been proven in this case. do you think that he went a little soft on that? and is he leaving manage in the tank, he the prosecutor, for his rebuttal time? >> most certainly he may have missed the mark on that, as you just alluded to, council. counsel. but it's quite possible they might need that to bring it home, as they say, in rebuttal time. they have their theory of the case. they are seasoned prosecutors. we are all here discussing them
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in the monday morning quarterback mode for the purposes of this show and so forth. but i would like to think that they know what they're doing and they are going to do the job, as will mr. west and mr. o'mara because they are all charged with the duty to act professionally in the way that they are acting. >> midwin charles, who makes the closing argument for the defense? it was don west who made the opening statement. he and mark o'mara have been sharing responsibilities. how do you think they have divvied up that responsibility? >> i don't know. i say they go with the guy who did the opening. i think that was one of the best openings that i saw. >> despite the joke? >>, despite the joke, despite the joke. i'm not sure. i think between west and o'mara, perhaps the jury may have picked up on that undercurrent that he has with the judge. so i don't know. maybe mark o'mara might be the best person. but i think don west has been a consistent person in terms of the witnesses. he has done a very good job of being able to turn state
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witnesses into actual defense witnesses. >> but lisa, i think they have clearly, and i said this to you a couple nights ago, divvied this up, good cop/bad cop kind of thing. when it's heavy lifting to be done, it's don west. and i'm not lessening the role that mark o'mara played. but he is the softer sell kind of a guy. i'm wondering if it won't be him who delivers the closing argument for the defense. >> i'm interested to hear that take from you. i don't have that impression. i think they're both outstanding attorneys. we have heard that mark o'mara is doing the closing arguments. that's why he was out of the courtroom for a portion of the hearing today, because he was preparing his closing. i think he is an extraordinarily effective advocate in that courtroom, mark o'mara is. he is the one who has been the most physical. he has been the one that has been demonstrating with his own body, lying on the ground, moving things around. both of them can stay very, very calm in the heat of battle. just making their points one after another, very meticulously. i got to tell you, if law students are watching, you want to watch mark o'mara's closing argument. you want to watch both of these defense attorneys throughout the
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trial. i think they are at the top of their game. >> lisa, did you find it unusual. it was about this time last night, that's why it stands out in my mind, that mark o'mara had a press conference after they had rested their case and before he delivered a closing argument? >> yes. that is unusual. and i would fault -- the media strategy is a completely different topic. i don't like he put his client on hannity. that was one of the biggest blunders because that's when he said that the killing of trayvon martin was god's plan. and that's oclearly come back to bite him. i don't like that mark o'mara is doing nightly press conferences. but he has the right to do it, and he is doing it. >> lisa bloom, thank you. alex ferrer, joseph haynes davis and midwin charles, we appreciate all of you. >> thank you. up next, science fiction means science fact. and a reminder, you can listen to my radio program weekday mornings at 9:00 eastern on potus 124. this is "hardball," the place for politics. i would say my car. probably the car. cause as you get older you start breaking down. i love my car. i want to take care of it.
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hey there i'm veronica de la cruz. here is what is happening. unrest flaring up across brazil again, with tens of thousands walking off their jobs in a nationwide strike. this follows violent demonstrations in june. workers are demanding better working conditions and improvements to services. 24 people killed in the fiery train derailment. all the missing are presumed dead. and country singer randy travis is recovering after undergoing brain surgery following a stroke. he remains in critical condition. i'm veronica de la cruz. let's get you back to "hardball." back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. believe it or not, it's been a big week in washington for science fiction fans. but let's start with some science fact. on monday, two democrats
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interviewed hr-2617, otherwise known as the apollo lunar landing legacy act, which is intended to establish a national park on the moon. the so-called moon bill has little chance of being enacted, but it's received a lot of attention and some mockery in the press over the last several days. it may not be a great leap or even a small step toward colonizing the moon or creating a secret death star in space, but it has delighted some sci-fi fans nonetheless. now on to the science fiction part of the week. as fate would have it, two days later, president obama awarded george lucas the national medal of arts and humanities. while he didn't mention any future lunar ambitions in his speech, he did reflect on the legacy of "star wars." >> i remember when i first saw "star wars," there is a whole generation that thinks special effects always look like they do today. but it used to be you would see
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like the string on the little model spaceships. anyway, i'm being led astray. >> much like the moon bill in congress, lucas' original idea for "star wars" was met with skepticism at first. but he got it done with a mix of good storytelling and innovative special effects. so that got us thinking maybe the moon bill supporters should take those lessons and repackage their bill in a format more familiar to "star wars" fans in congress. and here's what that might look liken hansed with our own special effects. ♪ ♪ well, that's just a taste. the entire bill would probably take another five minutes. next up, a lesson that many
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in washington have learned the hard way. you never cross the clintons, but teen pop idol justin bieber got himself in water when he did just that. tmz released a video that appears to show him cursing out a photograph of president clinton. the juvenile showed contrition today, apologizing to the former president in a phone conversation, and then tweeting -- thanks for taking the time to talk, mr. president. your words meant a lot, #greatguy. e! online reports that the forgiving former president had just one piece of advice for bieber. don't trust friends who leak videos to tmz. up next the unkindest cut and how congress's across the board cuts aren't hurting in washington, but outside the beltway, it's a very different story. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. welcome back to "hardball." we've been shining a light on the people and organizations hurt most by the across-the-board arbitrary spending cuts known as the sequester in a series segment that we called "the unkindest cut." in "the huffington post" reporter sam stein has been doing the same thing. this week one of the programs that he focused on was headstart. as you can see from the headlines, the cuts are affecting people across the country in ohio, minnesota, alabama, and new york state. in washington, defense secretary chuck hagel outlined the damaging effects these sequester cuts will have in his area, national security. in a letter to senators carl levin and james inhofe of the senate armed services committee, he wrote if the cuts continue, the department will have to make sharp cuts with far-reaching
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consequences, including limiting combat power, reducing readiness and undermining the national security interests of the united states. the defense secretary carries a lot of clout. but who is the equivalent advocate for the disenfranchised who depend on programs like meals on wheels and head start? sam stein covers politics for "the huffington post." joan walsh is an msnbc political analyst and editor at large for salon. sam, as i read your piece, wiz thinking to myself that the pain is so scattered that politically speaking, maybe that's the reason for a lack of mobilization thus far. small groups are what you document who are feeling significant pain, but there subject seem to be anything or anybody tying them all together. >> yeah, you have a very valid point there. there is an organization in washington, d.c. called ndd, which advocates on behalf of those groups affected by the nondefense discretionary cuts by sequestration. but you're right. i think the pain is so scattered that we're not really seeing a mobilized effort to get these cuts replaced. the other problem that is happening is that a lot of these
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groups, including headstart organizations are doing everything that they can to back load all of the pain. and by that, they're putting off the suffering. they're making sure that parents in the system, stay in the system. and they're ensuring that parents who want to get in the system don't get in the system. and that helps those people who are dependent on these programs, but has a perverse political effect as well. the pain and the suffering is less visible to the lawmakers who would actually have the authority to get these cuts reversed. >> and joan walsh, i think in the country there is a perception that we gave a sequester and nobody came, that we had heard these stories of all that was going to unfold, but people really haven't seen evidence. beyond sam's work and beyond what chris has been doing here on "hardball," i don't know that the media has rooep really been making the case for the fact that it's real. >> no. and you see a lot of savvy journalists saying nothing happened and it's not a big deal and liberals lied or liberals exaggerated. but the face of the cut cans are very real. i just want to congratulate sam for doing a great job. none of us do that kind of journalism often enough. and he makes it vivid. but, you know, headstart has
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never been fully funded. headstart serves half or less than half of the eligible kids, michael. so it's never had an effective lobbying, never had effective advocacy. and sam is also right in what they are doing is serving the kids already in their pipeline. and god bless them for that. that's the right thing to do. but you don't necessarily hear the outcry for somebody who didn't get something as opposed to somebody who got kicked out of something or got something taken away. >> sam, let me ask you. what about the prospect of chuck hagel becoming a champion indirectly for the social programs that you have written effectively about? in other words, how could the congress restore some of the funding for the defense department, for the pentagon, without also addressing these shortcomings? >> it's a great question. the only time that congress has acted has been when the pain has been so acute to them. >> right. >> and by that, i mean the faa furloughs that happened which were causing flight delays. also, the meat inspectors got their furloughs canceled as well. but you haven't had that sort of acute suffering that has been so big and vivid that it's compelled people to act. and, again, part of the reason
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is that a lot of the stuff is going to be felt ten years down the road. i was at a meeting the other day with a bunch of academic researchers who were talking about this, about the affect that grant money reductions are going to have in their field. and they said, yeah, we have the technology right now where if you have a heart attack, we can fix that. where if you have a heart attack, you can fix that. if you want heart therapies that prolong your life for 20 years, we're developing those. without the grand money from the development, we're never going to have the drugs developed. stuff that happens 10, 15, 20 years down the road. >> joan walsh, has there been a failure on the left, by the obama white house to champion these issues? >> i'd like to see more coming from the white house. i thnk it's a great idea, michael. i'd love to see secretary hagel include head start funding and make the case our children are a national security issue and what we're doing to our children makes us less safe down the line. there hasn't been nearly enough attention to paid to this. i think once they took the faa, once they let people fly again, the lawmakers could fly again safely and on time, all of the
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urgency went away and it's really quite disappointing and quite tragic. >> sam, give us the cliffs note version anecdotedly of something you've seen in your reporting thus far that people who haven't read your work would understand. >> oh, god, there's so much of it. public defenders, for instances are one of these things no one really knows about. public defenders play a huge role. public defenders are going without investigators are for their defense work. can you imagine a lawyer without an investigator to do his or her work? it's not a defense. we're doing an article now on stream gauges which around the country help us prepare for flood awareness and flooding. there are about 80 stream gauges now unoperational because of sequestration. imagine if you're in a community that's prone to flooding and doesn't have a stream gauge. that's a frightening aspect. these things are happening all across the country. it's just that no one has put them comprehensively together saying this is what taking $85 million out of the economy looks like. >> is the worst still to come? in other words, i heard you say they've been backloading some of
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the impact of this. i assume that's because they hope there will be a political fix that will forestall those cuts. >> the that was the idea going into it. they were going to backload everything because, of course, congress would act three months in when they realized how bad it was. again, like i said, there was a perverse outcome to that, congress then sort of ignored it. they assumed it wasn't that big a deal. >> sam has a great anecdote, too, of a kansas congressman telling this poor head start mom what she needs to do is get money from rich people. this is a federal program, a few federal program to help poor children and now she's supposed to go fund raise in addition to raising her child. and getting childcare and going to work. she's supposed to go to rich people and get this none. >> there's a good quota to the story. several hours after our report came out, that mother and her 13 other colleagues in that head start program for accepted into the public school program. again, people in the system are being taken care of. they're being accommodated. the waiting list to get into head start now is astronomically larger an that program will never re-open and the teachers who are part of that program
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will never get their jobs back. >> sam, we have 20 seconds left. who's on top of this? who's championing this cause if anyone? who are you looking to for leadership? >> you know, obviously there's members in the congress who are out there. chris van hollen, for instance, rosa delora on head start, for instance. if you get members back in their districts -- even the most fiscally conservative ones say this is a dumb idea. finding the solution that doesn't involve too much -- >> thank you, sam stein, thank you, joan walsh. thank you to the viewers who tweeted us with examples of how the cuts are hurting them. chris w. tweets, i work at oasis youth center in tacoma, washington, and provide key services to lgbt youth, 14 to 24. our funding has been slashed. we want to hear from you an how congress' cuts are affecting i you. tweet us with #unkindestcut or go to our facebook page, facebook.com/hardball. we'll be right back after this.
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where do you want to take your business? call us. we can show you how at&t solutions can help you do what you do... even better. ♪ let me finish tonight with this. yesterday as we discussed in the program, the washington, d.c., city council has voted to impose a higher minimum wage on large retailers. retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more.
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and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger. it's really all about walmart. the federal minimum wage is $7.25 and where washington, d.c., has its own minimum wage, walmart will need to bay a super minimum wage of $12.50 an hour and walmart is saying if this is signed into law, walmart will stop construction on planned stores in the district. in the united states, the average wage for a full-time hour walmart association is $12.57 according to the company, about $25,000 a year above the federal poverty level of $23,050 for a family of four. many part-time workers at the company make little more than minimum wage. proponents say that when walmart reported a net income of $17 billion in sales of $470 billion, in its most recent fiscal year, it could afford to
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pay better wages. i don't find that persuasive. walmart's ability to pay a super minimum wage is no more justification for paying it than will be allowing an unsuccessful business to pay less than a minimum wage. walmart has grown so large as to make it difficult for today's entrepreneurs to compete against it. the business was born in a competitive marketplace and that's the same environment, not the halls of government, in which walmart should have to justify its continued success. in other words, if consumers believe that walmart destroys more jobs than it creates, or that walmart causes its own employees to require public assistance, or makes it impossible for mom and pop businesses to kbeet on main street, they should vote with their wallets. walmart is nothing without the consumers who support it. the solution is not for government to single out an american business, any american business for punitive treatment. d.c. mayor vincent gray should use his power and veto the bill. i personally don't like the way
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these box stores homogenize our hometowns when each has a walmart, mcdonald's and starbucks, they lose their individual identity. the market should sort that out. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. tonight on "all in" closing arguments begin in sanford, florida. the prosecution paints a picture of george zimmerman as a wannabe cop whose assumptions resulted in death of trayvon martin. that's coming up. also a 19-year-old makes a really bad joke on facebook and spends four horrific months in a texas jail charged with making terroristic threats. justin carton